Florida official reprimanded for comments about Rep. Rashida Tlaib

The Hallandale city commission voted to formally apologize for past racial harm and to attend cultural sensitivity training.

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/ Source: NBC News
By Courtney Buble

City commissioners in Hallandale Beach, Florida, voted Wednesday night to publicly reprimand Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub for calling Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib a "Hamas loving anti-Semite" who "is a danger and would not put it past her to become a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill."

Lima-Taub made her comments in a Facebook post earlier this month, adding that she "proudly signed" a petition demanding Tlaib's removal from office.

Tlaib, a newly elected congresswoman from Michigan, was recorded saying of President Donald Trump after her swearing-in ceremony, "we're gonna go in there and we're gonna impeach the motherf-----!"

Before Wednesday night's meeting, people on both sides of the issue protested outside City Hall. An initial resolution called for Lima-Taub to be censured, but the motion was amended by Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana.

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In a presentation during the meeting, Lima-Taub attacked Tlaib's political positions.

"I found it unacceptable that a newly elected congresswoman would be so disrespectful to a president who was freely elected," she said.

Lima-Taub spoke for just under a half-hour, defending her Facebook post and saying the comments were not meant to be anti-Muslim. Tlaib is Muslim.

Thirty-nine residents signed up to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting, mostly about Lima-Taub.

Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, of Michigan, addresses a coalition of labor, environmental and community groups during a rally to protest General Motors' planned assembly plant closings in Detroit, Mich., earlier this month. Rebecca Cook / Reuters

There was also a larger conversation about race issues in Hallandale Beach with several African-American residents saying commissioners didn't seem to care about racial incidents in the city.

As a result, the city commission voted to formally apologize for past instances of racial harm that residents brought up during public comment and to attend cultural sensitivity training.

Earlier on Wednesday, the captain of professional standards for the Hallandale Beach Police Department, RaShanna Dabney-Donovan, told NBC News, "While allowing for the expression of constitutional rights, extra police personnel will be on scene to ensure the protection and safety of all persons, which is our utmost concern."

After more than four hours of discussing the Michigan congresswoman and Middle Eastern politics, the city council turned to other topics.